A penny for your pansies…
Did you know that the word pansy comes from pensée, the French word for thought?
I took the day off Wednesday and knelt in the sunshine and planted some. I breathed fresh air and got dirt under my fingernails and enjoyed the dainty flowers’ pretty lion faces. (Don’t they remind you too of lions, with their little faces and big manes?) It was just what the doctor ordered after my fish lips fiasco on Monday night. I needed pansies and I needed pensées– clear ones, thoughts that weren’t rushed or crowded in between voices, the kind of thoughts that come out only in the quiet, invited by birds tweeting and breezes tapping branches together and squirrels skittering up trees.
Sometimes I think we need mandatory thinking time. Back when I was teaching chemistry at Eastside High, I remember we had a mandatory reading time, twenty minutes every day, I believe. Everything stopped. No one was allowed to speak or pass notes or even mix up chemicals for the lab next period. Everyone, including the teachers, was supposed to open up a book or a magazine and read.
Could we do that now please? Could we make a thinking version? Don’t we need it in this campaign season? In our families’ busy lives? In our workday? Could we fire up a community siren that signals STOP! FIND A COMFORTABLE SPOT TO BREATHE AND THINK! If you’re stuck as to what to think about, look at something beautiful- a flower or a child’s face or a piece of art. Think about those things and how they make you feel. And then breathe and think some more.
I saw something beautiful today. I’m still thinking about it.
A friend asked me to speak at her book club about French By Heart. I had a great time sharing and talking with these kind, gracious, interesting ladies, but I’m still in awe with how they began our meeting time together. It is the custom of this club to read a creed (I think that’s what they called it) in unison. In this reading, they pledged to keep their minds and thoughts and words from pettiness, to be generous with each other and kind, to be encouraging and grateful and caring. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen and heard lately!
It’s so easy to be lazy with people we know and love, to be loose with our words, knowing that friends will accept us even if we cross the line. It seems normal now to behave however we feel like behaving. Reality television shows us how and so does the political campaign. But when these friends meet, they renew their pact to try to give their best selves to each other. What a gift! It was a fabulous time and I’m so glad I got to be part of it.
So that’s my pensée for today. A penny for yours?
(Really! I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ll make bird noises or tap branches if it might help you!)